How To Remove Salt Stains From Shoes

How To Remove Salt Stains From Shoes

Salt stains are common to shoes that are made from leather and suede shoes or nubuck. If your boot or sneaker gets these stains, don't worry! You can clean them up.

To do this, you need the right cleaning solution. Some people use a homemade mix. Others buy a special remover from the store. Both ways can work well. The important thing is to be gentle. This way, you won't damage your shoes while cleaning them.

So, are you ready to give your shoes a fresh look? Learn how to remove salt stains off of suede and leather footwear with this guide.

Things You Need to Consider Before Cleaning

First, think about what your shoes are made of. Are they leather, suede, or nubuck? Different materials may need different cleaners. Also, look inside the shoebox. You'll often find a guide about how to care for your shoes. If you've lost it, don't worry! Try visiting the manufacturer's website.

Read related article: How To Protect Leather Shoes From Rain - 4 Easy Ways

They usually have cleaning guides there. You don't need to be a pro to get salt stains out of shoes and boots. With the right guide and some patience, your shoes and boots will look as good as new.

Remember, getting salt stains out of your footwear is easier when you know what you're doing.

What Does Salt Stains Look Like?

Salt stains usually appear when your shoes come in contact with snow and ice, especially if you walk on a salted sidewalk. So, what do these stains look like?

Well, there's a good chance you might see white or gray marks on your suede or leather shoes. For uggs, the stained area would look like a water spot that has dried up. The salt can even affect the nap of the suede, making it look worn out. So, if you spot these signs, it's time to get cleaning!

Read related article: How To Remove Yellow Stains From White Shoes

How to Remove Salt Stains from Leather Shoes or Boots

Let's start this guide by giving you some tips on how to remove salt stains from leather shoes. Leather is a popular material for boots and shoes because it's stylish, comfortable, and durable.

However, when it comes to cleaning salt stains off leather footwear, you might need some special attention.

Materials You Need:

  • A soft cloth
  • White vinegar solution (2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar)
  • Clean, dry towel

Read related article: How to Keep Leather Shoes From Cracking - Easy to Follow Guide

Step 1: Wipe Off Any Excess Salt

Before you start cleaning, wipe off any excess salt with a clean, dry towel. This helps to prevent spreading the stain as you clean. It's a quick step but plays a big part in making your cleaning process easier.

Step 2: Mix Your Cleaning Solution

Next, prepare your cleaning solution. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner that can get rid of the salt stains off your shoes. Make sure to stir the solution well so that the vinegar is properly mixed in.

Step 3: Get Your Cloth Ready

Dip a soft cloth into the solution. The goal is to get it just damp enough that it can clean the shoes without soaking them. So, after dipping the cloth, squeeze out any excess liquid. This careful preparation will stop the leather from getting too wet.

Step 4: Apply the Solution to the Stain

Now, it's time to treat the stain! Gently rub the affected area with the damp cloth. Don't rub too hard as it can damage the material. Remember, the keyword here is 'gentle'.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry

Once the salt stain is gone, use a clean, dry towel to wipe away any remaining moisture. This helps to prevent water marks and helps the shoe to dry faster. Then, let the shoe air dry completely before you wear it again.

Step 6: Use a Stain Remover if Necessary

If the stain is still visible after these steps, you can use a stain remover. Choose a product that is safe for leather. Apply it as per the instructions on the package, and then let the shoe air dry.

Step 7: Brush with a Toothbrush

After your shoes are dry, you might notice that the texture of the leather has changed. To fix this, you can use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the surface of the shoe. This will help to restore the texture of the leather.

For better result, make sure to invest in a leather shoe brush. Stone and Clark offers horsehair brush that is gentle on leather. It's a great addition to your shoe cleaning kit.

black horsehair brush

Get yours here!

How to Remove Salt Stains from Suede Shoes or Boots

Now that we've covered leather shoes, let's talk about how to get salt stains off suede footwear. Suede is a delicate material, and it requires special care when cleaning to avoid damaging the fabric.

Materials You Need:

  • White vinegar solution
  • Clean towel
  • Suede eraser
  • Crepe Brush

Step 1: Brush off Salt Residue

Use a suede brush or crepe brush to gently remove any excess salt residue from your suede boots. This is an easy way to clean off the initial layer of salt before you start with any wet cleaning.

Step 2: Prepare White Vinegar Solution

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl to make your cleaning solution. Stir it well to properly mix the vinegar and water.

Step 3: Saturate the Towel

Dip a clean towel in the solution. Saturate the towel just enough to clean the suede without soaking it. After dipping the towel in the solution, squeeze out any excess liquid.

Step 4: Apply the Solution

Gently dab the solution on the salt stains using the saturated towel. Be gentle to avoid damaging the material.

Step 5: Let Them Air Dry

Once the salt is removed, allow your suede boots to air dry naturally. Avoid using a hair dryer or placing them near heat as it can damage the suede.

Step 6: Brush the Suede

After the boots have dried, use a suede brush or crepe brush to gently brush the suede. This will restore the texture and nap of the suede, giving your shoes a fresh look.

crepe brush

Get your crepe brush from Stone and Clark here!

Step 7: Spray the Entire Boot

Finally, once they're dry, you can spray the entire boot with a suede protective spray. This offers an extra layer of protection against future stains. This way, you can keep your favorite suede boots looking great for a longer time. Always test the spray on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't discolor the suede.

Read related article: How to Waterproof Suede Shoes - Easy-to-Follow Guide


Don't let salt stains ruin your favorite leather or suede shoes. With the right materials and techniques, you can easily remove salt stains and keep your footwear looking fresh and new.

Remember to always test any cleaning solution or product on a small area first before using it on the entire shoe. By following these steps, you'll be able to enjoy your stylish, comfortable shoes without worrying about salt stains.

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